With 90 boats and more than 400 people registered for today’s Miami Boat Show Poker Run from Miami to Holiday lsle in the mid Florida Keys, the Florida Powerboat Club’s season-opening event is looking stronger than ever. The quality of the fleet, which includes go-fast boats from Active Thunder, Cigarette Racing Team, Dave’s Custom Boats, Douglas Marine/Skater, Marine Technology Inc. (MTI), Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats, Statement Marine and an assortment of other high-end builders simply cannot be understated. While no one in his or her right mind would declare the high-performance marine industry “fully recovered,” there is a buoyancy of spirit and optimism here that I haven’t seen in years.
My assignment today is to experience two worlds of MTI, so to speak. Thanks to V42 center console owners Greg and Brenda McCauley, who I’ve met many times through MTI principal Randy Scism and his wife, Cherell (Cherell and Brenda are sisters), but never boated with, I’ll grab a ride in the sexy 42-footer from Miami to Key Largo. After lunch at Gilbert’s Tiki Bar, I’ll boat-hop to a serious 52-foot canopied catamaran with twin Mercury Racing 1650 engines called Pass Blocker with Brad Benson, the boat’s owner and my host, for the leg from Key Largo to Holiday Isle.
Different boating experiences to be sure, and I’ll report on the center console side of things during lunch at Gilbert’s. In the meantime, there is plenty of eye-candy at the docks as we wait to depart. (Yes, I’m talking boats. What did you think I was talking about?) Among the standouts is a new fiery red Skater 388 cat owned by Michael Ciasulli. The 38-footer is powered by twin Mercury Racing 1350 engines. Much to his credit, Ciasulli spent the past two days getting driving instruction from John Tomlinson, a multi-time world champion offshore racer who co-owns TNT Custom Marine in Miami.
Engines are firing up, which means I have to get this story live. Look for another report from the lunch stop in an hour or so. I am finishing this report as we idle onto Biscayne Bay—gotta love modern communication technology Work, work, work—it’s a tough job but someone has to do it.